The Tao of Steve -- ***1/2 (out of 5)   (2000)

Cast: Donal Logue, Greer Goodman, James 'Kimo' Wills, Ayelet Kaznelson

Directed By Jenniphr Goodman

Although written by two women (and in fact sisters), starring one and directed by the other, one should not immediately classify THE TAO OF STEVE as a chick flick out to castrate males who don't worship women.  Instead, one might actually be quite surprised at how insightful the film is in figuring out how the male mind works, and in some cases, doesn't work.  THE TAO OF STEVE isn't so much funny because it is excessively witty or full of funny jokes, although the quotability factor is enormous.  What makes it so funny and entertaining is that it knows its subject, and knows it so well that it can make fun of it while never directly attacking it in an obvious way.

Dex is pot-smoking, beer swillng underachiever in his early 30s.  He has spent most of his post-college years bedding the local women in his small New Mexico town and hanging out with his buddies playing poker or frisbee.  Once known as the Ladies Man in college, he heads to the 10-year reunion surpising all the ladies there by having gained almost 100 lbs. and by being unsuccessful in his career.  Yet, he is still as sharp as can be, having studied philosophy and applied it to his life, including a way to get women even if you aren't attractive, THE TO OF STEVE.  The TAO involves three laws:  don't show a woman you want to sleep with her, do something heroic while she is watching, and retreat while she chases you the rest of the way.  But the Tao is put to the test when he meets Syd, the drum-playing girl with whom he had a fling but doesn't remember.

While the direction by first-timer Goodman is passable at best, a supporting cast of actors you will probably never see again in a film, and the soundtrack of cheesy songs to go along with the action do little to raise the amateurish level of the production, THE TAO OF STEVE still never seems to fail in entertaining and delivering the laughs.  This is largely do the the very telling script, supposedly based mostly on co-screenwriter Duncan North (who also appears in the film as Duncan), as well as a three-dimensional portrayal of the star chauvinist Dex by longtime character actor, Donal Logue.  Although it is a little difficult to believe that a man with Dex's looks and lack of finance could be successful with very many women, it does succeed in making the Tao that much more interesting. 

THE TAO OF STEVE is highly recommended for adults, and specifically for adults currently int he dating scene.  Definitely funny as well as entertaining, it is refreshing proof that one doesn't need a large budget or flashy actors to deliver quality.  

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